Looking for some festive fun and creative holiday ideas to break out of the "isolation blues?" According to an article published by ProHealthCare.org, a report came out by the National Academies of Sciences, showing that people are more lonely than they've ever been before from all the prolonged social isolation and lockdown mandates (read report here).
People were lonely before the pandemic and now even more so. According to the report above, isolation and decreased social interaction increases dementia, premature death, higher rates of anxiety, depression, stroke & heart failure, and sadly, suicide.
We can break the cycle by planning some ways to connect with each other no matter what is going on around us- and we must! Our health depends on it! If you are able to gather together in person- good for you! If not then let's have fun finding ways to light up the holiday season this year both for ourselves and our loved ones who may be too far away or unable to gather with us. Are you ready? Here's how to beat the holiday blues and get creative!
7 Holiday Ideas & Gifts To Connect
1. HOST A VIRTUAL ZOOM HOLIDAY CHRISTMAS PARTY!
If you haven't heard about Zoom, Here is your chance! In all honesty, I didn't know how to set up a Zoom meeting until I researched for this blog (yay me!) but I have attended many zoom meetings! The technology is much better now days and is easier to set up, learn, and connect than it was a few years ago. Zoom meetings are a practical and easy way to connect with people in the comfort of your own home. Make sure to have decent lighting and a nice backdrop- like a lit up tree! Just follow these 3 easy steps to connect with loved ones using the Zoom application or "app" as they say.
Visit your smart phones app store or type "Zoom into a Google search for your computer. Download the Zoom app onto your smart phone or laptop. Once you download Zoom, follow the prompts which allow you to create an account. Then invite everyone you want by sending them the link. It's ridiculously easier than ever to connect on Zoom for the holidays! You can also share a "call in by phone" number provided by Zoom for people who may not be as computer savvy (like grandparents etc).
Need a step by step walkthrough? Here's a great how-to video called ZOOM FOR DUMMIES! Watch here or scroll down for video tutorial which offers a step by step walk through on how to use ZOOM to connect. This idea alone is so helpful and leads us to idea #2
2. SEND GIFTS AHEAD OF TIME AND OPEN THEM TOGETHER ON VIDEO
I don't care how old you are, everyone enjoys opening a crinkly paper present with something thoughtful inside (and even better if that thoughtful gift smells amazing!). This year has been a doozy-downer, so this idea will be a great opportunity to share the love as the joy and anticipation awaits them and will undoubtedly bring warm smiles and comfort to a sweet soul while showing that you thought of them in a charming way.
Opening up a surprise gift will bring a much needed personal heartfelt connection to our friends and family especially after a year with so much disconnect. You don't have to have a gift to connect- simply saying "hello!" and connecting through laughter and together time is healing medicine for the human soul.
TIME TESTED GIFTS PEOPLE APPRECIATE
Warm fuzzy cozy socks, mugs with Lilly's vegan sugar free chocolate inside, fluffy robes that are plush and soft, something they mentioned liking in casual conversation, electronics, or anything you make by hand- and for sure scented candles! It's the thought that counts the most this holiday season, and adding a card with pictures and confetti inside is fun too, or perhaps a pressed flower bookmark you made by hand can also be very much appreciated!
3. HOST A CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY MOVIE WATCH PARTY ON FACEBOOK (HERE'S HOW!)
This is easy as can be! You can find wonderful Christmas movies on Youtube. You can watch them at home with all your facebook friends. You can also simply use youtube or a streaming device to watch with your household. I watch this one
every year with my husband, while we enjoy some special holiday dish we whip up! Anything claymation has my celebration hat tipped to the art and time it took to make back then! Plus ”classics” are so sweet... You can decide what you’d love and enjoy watching together and invite all your friends!
How to set up a watch party on Facebook link for more info
- Go to the Page you want to host a watch party from.
- Click in the Write a Post... box to open the composer.
- Click [...] to find more options.
- Click Watch Party.
- Click Add Video. You can search for a video or click a tab such as Watched, Group, Live, Saved, or Suggested to view additional videos. The Page tab will show videos from your own Page.
- Click Add to Queue next to any videos you'd like to add to your watch party.
- Optional: click View Queue to view your playlist before going live.
- Click Done.
- You can add a title and a description for your watch party. Note that this can only be done from a computer right now.
- Click Post. You'll see a message that says, "Your Watch party Is About To Begin."
You can also do this on Netflix so read about that here
3. Make a Holiday Music Play List
Music brings warmth, joy, and fun to a holiday and if you're at home or going to a gathering, having music on hand adds spirit and charm to the event especially if you have a knack for picking great tunes.
Youtube & Spotify have the easiest pre-made playlists already set up. Both have recordings of hours and hours of "Holiday Classics" conveniently ready to go and, you can put the play lists on and forget about it. You can also create your own unique playlists with a little extra time.
Next, set up a blue tooth speaker and pair your phone. Enjoy all the happy bouncing Christmas songs you can think of! There's Rock, Classic, Kids, Pop, Christian, Punk; you name it! From Mariah Carey to the Ramones, from comical to Christmas Classic Hymns, there's something for everyone. Either way, there's no reason to have a music-less holiday! If you know someone likes a particular genre- throw it in there and make their day! Plan songs together for even more fun!
4. ATTEND A CHRISTMAS LIGHT DRIVE THROUGH
Newspapers are a great place to find local light decorating events and happenings in your area. Lights are such a magical way to celebrate the holiday! Enjoying light displays doesn't cost a dime. You could also walk or drive somewhere and make it a memorable occasion especially if it's an awe-inspiring magical light display.
Sometimes specific neighborhoods have a unique street or area that the homeowners deck out. It's a huge deal in some places, so ask around! I stumbled upon one by accident just walking around me neighborhood!
5. DECORATE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY COOKIES TOGETHER
I love making my own biscotti cookies, and decorating cookies is a lot of fun too. There's still time to find fun festive cookie cutter shapes and plan what you want, such as Christmas trees, Menorahs, elfs, candy canes, stars, sleighs, manger scenes, or whatever else comes to mind. The fun part is deciding how you will decorate your festive cookies together. Kids love decorating, (and so do adults!), so enjoy a little holiday fun and let your inner kid shine like the season!
If you're looking for vegan alternatives to icing, click this link for gluten-free non-GMO cookie and cake decorations; click here too for some ideas and resources. If sweets aren't your thing, then opt for Christmas Pizzas! Easy fun and delicious!
6. SELF CARE HOME SPA
Facials, exfoliators, candles, massage, soft music, herbal teas- are all great self care escapes and rejuvenators. The beautiful part about touch is while it is physical it is also mentally calming. Set up your bedroom or living room to accommodate the perfect spa experience. All of us could use more balance today. A scalp massage, face mask or herbal infusion is always comforting. Make sure the lighting is dim and relaxing. Don't forget the spa music!
Perhaps the couch sounds more alluring. Give yourself or a loved one a foot massage and then prop your own feet up and give those calves and feet a holiday rest! Ask them to return the favor! Using scented lotions and conditioning the skin is a great way to fortify our skin with nutrients which help smooth & hydrate - don't forget to moisturize your arms, legs, neck, and hands- heck just trade full body massages! Enjoy scented lotions and oils while sipping delicious warm hot chocolate or tea. If that's too demanding simply talk and enjoy a foot rub while sharing your dreams together. Put on that festive holiday music and let the soft holiday lights sparkle off the walls and enjoy the time connecting to one another! You're alive! You have someone to love! That's a gift!
No company? No problem! If alone this holiday here's some great ideas to rejuvenate your mind body and spirit. Pretend you're in a castle! Wear a soft robe (your royal robe) and slip into some fluffy slippers or cozy fluffy socks. The more holiday-ish -the better! I have a pair of fluffy slippers that feel like heaven to walk in and you can find those all over this time of year. I have cute reindeer ones too that always remind me not to take myself too seriously- and they always make my husband smile.
Another idea is to make a cozy corner and enjoy a great book. Try your hand at decorating your living space in sparkling holiday lights! Light candles and put them all over and turn down the regular lighting so you enjoy the beautiful warm glow that candles give so well. Enjoy the candle fragrance you choose and melt into a relaxing vibe while gliding from room to room in your royal regalia!
Borrow the ideas above for "planning a spa day" and incorporate as much self care as you desire. You have all day and possibly even a few days to recharge your mind body and soul.
When you decide to video conference later on in the day (and you will want that planned in advance)- hide the fact that you may not have on so-called "authentic clothes". Just shoot from the chest up! Remember the news anchor in underwear and only a dress shirt, suite jacket, and tie? Brilliant! Just keep the camera above your waist! Seriously, if you have the house all to yourself, be sure to enjoy it!
Are you Musical? Sing or play your instruments to candlelight! Music is self soothing for sure. I love playing my electric guitar on days off! Spend quality time with your animals. Plan your return in 2021 (see #7) or, connect with your higher power. Read sacred scripture. Think on positives. Stretch! Scroll through motivational quotes! The day is yours! Enjoy it!
7. CREATE A VISION BOARD
This is the perfect time to start planning your comeback in 2021. What did you learn in 2020? What worked? What didn't? Take time to get to know yourself. What do you want to change? How can you take those baby steps? Who can help you with your goals?
Make one to three short and long term goals. Cut out magazine pictures that remind you of those goals and place them on a poster board. Another option is to copy and paste pictures from the internet onto a document using your phone or computer and create headings with the pictures that resonate and make you feel the joy of possibility! Your goals should be dreams and aspirations. You can copy your dream vision board on a printer and place it on your wall, or wherever you think you’ll look multiple times a day (bathrooms are great places to post inspiration because you go there many times a day!). The trick is to get excited about your future and don't be afraid to DREAM BIG!
Don't worry of it's too "out there". If your dreams for your life don't scare you a little bit, keep dreaming bigger until you find one that does! That's where the gold is. Break out of your comfort zone. Vision boards work! I know! I use them! I am planning on making another one this holiday! "Where there is no vision - plans fail" says the good book! So, get those ideas out of your head and onto a medium that you can see daily! Lastly...
TIP: DITCH THE POLITICS & NEGATIVITY
Holidays are a great time to recharge and also to share love, experience peace and be filled with joy. Ask more questions about others and really listen to their heart. Make someone else's day by showing them you're present with them listening and engaging with them.
Use the video connection video above or connect face to face- but be sure to give yourself that human connection so vital for health and happiness. If for some reason, you can't connect using the above mentioned ways then at minimum, make a real phone call to your loved ones or people you care about instead of texting (if appropriate). Truly reach out to those that may be isolated and feeling alone. Gifts are a kind way to show we took a little extra time for others and it's always more blessed to give than to receive so, savor the joy of sharing the love because that's what the Holidays and being a healthy happy human is truly all about but of course, I'm sure but you already knew that. So until next time...
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa! I hope we all have the most beautiful holiday season connecting both with ourselves as well as with others. Enjoy the festivities!